Limousine service operator charged in crash that killed 20

LATHAM, N.Y. (AP) — A limousine service operator was charged Wednesday with criminally negligent homicide in a crash that killed 20 people, while police continued investigating what caused the wreck and whether anyone else will face charges.

The operator’s lawyer said that the man wasn’t guilty and that police were rushing to judgment.

The company, Prestige Limousine, has come under intense scrutiny since Saturday’s crash outside Albany killed two pedestrians and 18 people in a super-stretch limo.

Prestige Limousine operator Nauman Hussain hired a driver who shouldn’t have been behind the wheel of such a car, and the vehicle shouldn’t have been driven after state inspectors deemed it “unserviceable” last month, State Police Superintendent George Beach said at a news conference.

“The sole responsibility for that motor vehicle being on the road on Saturday rests with Nauman Hussain,” Beach said, though he noted that investigators continue looking into whether anyone else should be held accountable.

As Hussain, 28, awaited arraignment, his lawyer, Lee Kindlon, said his client handled only marketing duties and phone calls, while his father ran the company, though police called Hussain its operator.

“My client is not guilty,” Kindlon said. “The police jumped the gun in charging him with any crime.”

Under New York law, criminally negligent homicide involves not perceiving a substantial, unjustifiable risk that leads to someone’s death.

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